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  • Laren Rusin

It's Smoothie Season!

With hot weather, smoothies become an appetizing way to get a meal or snack in. However, there are better and not-so-better ways to make a smoothie, if you’re looking for a healthy snack or meal replacement. Read on!

Some benefits of smoothies:

They’re a great way to get nutrients in without cooking-lots of veggies, protein, fruit, and vitamins. Plus, no oven or stove required, and they’re quick to make if you have a stockpile of ingredients

They’re a great way to eat the rainbow-especially a good way to “hide” veggies from you or your kids 😉

Some of the downfalls:

Smoothies can be sugar bombs. I have seen plenty of stores and recipes for smoothies that pack in several servings of fruit a day, with no fat or protein to offset the glycemic load. Welcome to a sugar crash a 30-60 minutes later!

Some of the ingredients, namely protein powders, that people use in smoothies can be full of yucky ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, or even worse, have traces of heavy metals or BPA, and since supplements are not well-regulated, you have to do some work to make sure you’re getting good quality stuff.

My keys to a good smoothie:

If I’m making a smoothie for a meal replacement, say breakfast, I’m going to want it to mimic my healthy plate way of making a meal-lots (half the plate!) of non-starchy veggies, maybe a serving of fruit, with added protein and fat. Protein keeps you full and can be beneficial for exercise recovery, depending on what you use, and fat will help you stay satisfied, and absorb key vitamins.

Add flavor! Fresh ginger, fresh herbs, lemon, cinnamon, mint… all add great flavor and nutritional benefit. Acids and salt (just a bit of each) will bring out the sweetness in the smoothie, allowing for lots of flavor with less sugar.

My favorite bases: coconut water, non-dairy milk, or even full fat milk, if you digest it well. You can also use green tea or herbal tea.

Veggies: frozen cauliflower is a great add-in, it’s flavorless and acts like ice, and gets you that cruciferous vegetable goodness. Frozen greens, beets, cucumber (so refreshing), are all good. Get creative here! Fiber is important to help with fullness, allows your intestines to do their job of pulling waste out of your body, so use the whole vegetable or fruit, not the juice.

Fruits: a quarter cup of frozen berries gives you some sweet, and good antioxidants. You can add a half to full frozen banana too, for sweetness and creamy texture. Kiwi, citrus, apple, and pineapple are other delicious options. Just watch your serving size!

Proteins: whey protein is hands-down the best for muscle recovery. Collagen peptides are great for skin, tendons, and it’s tasteless. Hemp seeds, nuts or nut butters, also add a good protein and fat combo.

Fats: half an avocado, full fat coconut milk or coconut oil, MCT oil, nuts and seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed meal (good for estrogen balancing and omega 3s), cacao nibs or cocoa… so many options!

Some of my favorite combos:

i. The Red Velvet smoothie: coconut water+protein+spinach+MCT oil+cherries+ (if you like, a fresh beet)+cocoa powder

ii. The PB&J: coconut milk + full-fat coconut milk+ protein + 2 tbsp almond butter + raspberries

iii. The Anti-Inflammatory: coconut water + protein + MCT oil + cauliflower + blueberries + ginger and turmeric

iv. The Shamrock Shake: nut milk + protein + avocado + ½ banana + greens + fresh mint

v. The Veggie Bomb (you need a high speed blender for this one!): coconut water + protein + a cucumber + a whole lemon or lime + a cup of frozen greens + a stalk of celery + half an avocado + a handful each of parsley and cilantro. This one is a personal favorite-the whole lemon is amazing!

Questions? Reach out, I’d be happy to help!

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